Henry V.

In Henry V, Shakespeare paints a bold and brilliant picture of the English victories in France during Henry's reign. Although Shakespeare's play is grounded in the history of the early fifteenth century, Shakespeare creates in this play a patriotic and more or less idealistic view of the period that has come to represent many modern ideas of Henry's reign.

Attempting to determine the context that led to the play's creation can help one to understand Shakespeare's liberal use of the past, but at the same time the play itself represents an important version of the events surrounding the battle of Agincourt in 1415. On one level it is one of Shakespeare's most triumphant and patriotic plays; on another level it questions the nature of war and the value of unquestioning obedience.

Issues explored in the following pages include:

See also:

Footnotes

  1. Summary: facts about Henry V

    Written: 1598-99
    First published:

    1600 (Quarto). The text is significantly different in the Folio version (1623).


    First mention: referred to in Sir John Oldcastle, a play published in 1599.

    Source: Holinshed's Chronicle; the anonymous play The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth (1598)